The United Nations organisation has revised its population projection for the next century, suggesting that Earth’s population may reach 10.1 billion people by the year 2100.
While we in Australia debate the relative merits of “big Australia,” or some smaller version, people elsewhere are seriously procreating. Africa’s population, for example, is projected to more than triple this century to 3.6 billion.
One common solution to “overpopulation” offered by Western nations is “family planning” programs where birth control through contraception results in fewer children. This is sometimes seen as hypocrisy, or cultural imperialism. Such programs often focus solely on women. And there are other costs: in China, government policy has turned the tide on population, but at the cost of a significant decrease in the number of girls, and also forced abortions, infanticide, and state control over women’s choices.
While birth control is a means of responsible parenting, and can act as a brake on runaway population growth, it’s not the perfect solution to the world’s population ills. Education and poverty reduction may deliver better results in the long term.
Broadcast on 2CH Sydney, Sunday 5 June 2011. See also Amy Julia Becker, “A Christian response to overpopulation,” Christianity Today, 25 May 2011.